Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Bits: should you buy Waitrose gift cards today?, Amex MR and the Heathrow Rewards deal

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Deals in brief:

What happens to the Waitrose / Virgin Atlantic deal tomorrow?

For the last few weeks, the ability to earn 4 Virgin Flying Club miles for every £1 spent in-store at Waitrose has been a good earner for many Head for Points readers.  Details of the deal are here.

According to the Virgin website, the Waitrose deal will change tomorrow.  It isn’t clear how.  It could go away entirely or the rate could drop from 4 miles per £1 – which I personally see as over-generous, given that margins are paper-thin in grocery retailing – to something more sustainable.

The ‘ends 24th May’ deadline is not showing on the Waitrose page of the Virgin website.  It is only shown on a rotating banner on their shopping home page.

If you are nervous, you might want to pop into Waitrose today and buy a gift card for a few hundred pounds to cover your shopping for the next few weeks.  The gift card would also be valid in John Lewis.  I’ll let you know what happens to the offer after the 24th.

Waitrose Virgin Flying Club miles

Cashing out Amex Membership Rewards points via the Emirates / Heathrow Rewards promotion

I wrote yesterday about the new Heathrow Rewards offer, which is offering a 100% bonus this week when you cash out your points for Heathrow shopping vouchers.  You will get 2p per Heathrow Rewards point via a paper gift voucher valid at Heathrow for shopping, food or drink for 12 months.

I mentioned yesterday that, because you can convert Emirates Skywards miles into Heathrow Rewards (3:1 ratio, chunks of 6000 miles) this is a good way of emptying out any orphaned Emirates miles.

This could also be a way of using up any Amex Membership Rewards points you have.  Be clear that you can get better value than this elsewhere, but it is more valuable than redeeming Amex points for other gift cards.

This is how it works:

Transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to Emirates Skywards in chunks of 6,000 points (1:1, transfer is INSTANT)

Transfer Emirates Skywards miles to Heathrow Rewards in chunks of 6,000 miles (3:1, transfer is INSTANT)

Redeem Heathrow Rewards points before Monday for paper shopping voucher in chunks of 250 points

6,000 Amex points would get you 6,000 Emirates Skywards miles which would get you 2,000 Heathrow Rewards points which gets you a £40 Heathrow Airport shopping and restaurant voucher.

That is 0.66p per Amex Membership Rewards point.  You can do better than this in terms of ‘notional’ value (you should get double that if transferred to Avios and spent smartly) but if you just wanted to ‘dump’ your Amex points then this isn’t a bad route.  Because the transfers are both instant there is no risk of missing out.

Comments (111)

  • Simon says:

    On the basis my virgin miles earned at Waitrose seem to be lost, as per the recent article, bulk buying gift cards seems a bit of a gamble!

  • Akkers says:

    Has anyone successfully got the “in-store” Virgin Atlantic Club Miles to link with Curve? I tried linking my Curve and while it linked okay, the points never tracked.

    • Genghis says:

      I’ve only registered my Curve. Had a handful of points post yesterday

  • the real harry1 says:

    O/T – hat tip MSE

    Passes from £13.50 with 25% off code for well-rated No1 Lounges at Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham and Edinburgh

    No.1 Lounges
    We’ve blagged 25% off access to No1 Lounges* using the code MSE25. The code can be used at Heathrow Terminal 3 (£27), Gatwick North (£13.50), Gatwick South (£22.50), Birmingham (£19.50) and Edinburgh (£18). It is valid on No1 Lounge, My Lounge and Clubroom branded lounges.

    You’ll need to make a booking by 11.59pm on Friday 2 June and use a lounge by 31 August 2017. Children under two are free, children aged two to 11 can be added to your booking for the standard child advance rate which will vary but starts from £12.

  • Leo says:

    Few points tracked yesterday from 19th May onwards – nothing prior to that although registered on day 1 and shopped as per normal since i.e 3-4x per week.

  • D.C. says:

    Concur with other’s, Waitrose to Virgin totally hit and miss. Would not waste effort on buying vouchers as based on track record, very little chance of picking up the flying club miles.

    • thomas says:

      disagree… every transacation has come though. already received miles for purchases up to May 4th

  • Rash says:

    O/T For any regular Hertz renters, add PC code 111366 to your bookings before end of July for double and triple points (Hertz gold points)

  • N says:

    OT I got an email from [email protected] yesterday telling me I’d won £250 statement credit in the recent refer a friend competition. They asked for a handful of personal details, so called Amex and it turns out this is legitimate.

    Headsup for anyone else who may have got one!

  • Simon says:

    O/T. My 6 months of double Avios is about to end on my Lloyds Amex. can I cancel and churn this card in 6 months ??? Or is the dream over?

    • Genghis says:

      If this is the card you use day to day, I’d continue to use it. You might be surprised and double avios might just come through next month too… and the month after that…and…

      • Simon says:

        oh really?! didn’t know they were THAT incompetent. Thanks for the tip. Will do that till my BA 241 year starts again….

        • Genghis says:

          Mine ended on month 11.

          • Wally1976 says:

            Not sure how common this is. My wife and I have both had the card and the double points stopped at 6 months as it’s meant to 🙁

          • Simon says:

            Thanks. Will give it a go this month and see what happens. Ties in nicely with summer trips and no FX fees regardless.

          • ADS says:

            Mine ended after 6 months. I still use it as my main Amex card.

      • xcalx says:

        Need to do some visa spend quite soon. How long for the Lloyds cards to arrive after applying. Thanks.

        • Genghis says:

          From memory about a week, but given it’s Lloyds others may have had a completely different experience

          • xcalx says:

            Thanks. A week would be good for me. Thought it may have been much longer given it’s Lloyds.

        • signol says:

          Note that it’s a Mastercard not Visa.

      • Alan says:

        Sadly they were completely on the ball on that part for me 🙁

    • Doug M says:

      I got double for 8 months I think. This is go to abroad card so wouldn’t churn it.

    • Alan says:

      I’d also we wary of churning in case the card closes to applications – has happened before with some others and as an Amex double-pack it may be changing going forward…

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